Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Cutie-Pie Murders, Another Look blog post #490


Can you believe it? April is right around the corner, meaning two things: A quarter of this new year (which commenced only yesterday—or so it seems—has raced past. It also means that The Cutie-Pie Murders will be released by Dreamspinner. Looking forward to the event. In preparing this post, I ran across a note one of Dreamspinner’s editors sent me after reviewing the book Thought it was interesting, so I’ve included it below:

 I really enjoyed this story, for its own sake and as an addition to the series! These mysteries remain some of my all-time favorite procedurals, and this story delivered just as satisfactory a mystery and resolution as the others, which can be hard to do in a longer running series. I’ve loved how the relationship between BJ and Paul has remained strong and faithful—it adds to the satisfaction of seeing them work together as a team as well as balancing the evil of humanity (the murders/crimes) with the goodness, so I loved that there was plenty of that this time. I’ve also loved throughout the series (and seeing in this one also) how BJ works with the police; again, it balances the darkness being investigated to see the good/helpful dynamic between BJ and the others. In addition, I really appreciated how this mystery was more about obtaining proof after identifying the murderer, rather than the twist/surprise, since it made for a refreshing change of the usual mystery formula… the tension of the strong suspicion made for some good tension escalation as they worked to prevent him from killing.  All nicely done!

Not a bad compliment. Thanks, AZ.

 Today, I want to give you another look at the upcoming novel. The following scene comes early in Chapter 3. BJ returns home after making arrangements with APD Detectives to keep an appointment with an individual who’s sent an invitation for a meet to the murdered call boy, Matt Zapata. The scene is designed to give you a look at BJ’s and Paul’s domestic relationship and Paul’s rising interest in the new case. Enjoy.



 Our plans complete, I headed home, salivating over Paul’s announcement this morning he intended to fix a pot of his delicious green chili stew for our dinner. The love of my life was home and still seated before his computer in our shared home office, but the savory aroma of the promised repast hung heavy in the air.

He rose to give me a smile and a hug after I plopped my attaché case on my desk. “Hungry?” he asked.

“In more ways than one.” My first glimpse of him after a day’s absence always rocked me on my heels, reminding me how fortunate I was to have such a handsome and hunky mate to share my life. His lopsided grin went straight to my heart. His right eyebrow rose slightly.

“We’ll take your appetites in order.”

I showered and changed to casual clothes while he finished an article on the Albuquerque Isotopes baseball team. Paul was a freelance journalist, and his articles on last year’s Voxlightner Scandal case had been well received, giving his career a boost. Although I made no financial demands on him, he insisted on carrying his share of the household expenses. What he couldn’t contribute in dollars, he supplemented with sweat labor. The red-brick, cross-gabled house I’d inherited from my folks at 5229 Post Oak Drive in northwest Albuquerque hadn’t looked so spiffy—inside and out—since my mom took care of the interior and my dad puttered around the outside.

I emerged from the bedroom as Paul hit a key and gave a satisfied “Done.” I took that to mean he’d emailed his article to the target magazine.

We ate at the kitchenette table where, as usual, Paul’s tasty, piquant stew slaked one craving while his bronzed arms and admirable pecs excited another.

He brought me back to the moment by asking about the Zapata murder.

“The case has a name now. Matt was the third young man killed and discarded naked in some public place. The police are calling them the cutie-pie murders.”

“Cutie-pie? Who came up with such a lame name? Nobody’s used ‘cutie-pie’ in ages.”

I went for my attaché case and brought back three photographs.

“Wow!” he said after looking at them. “They are hotties. Cutie-pie fits, I guess. Any leads to who killed them?”

“Someone who’s not afraid to leave clues. All three of the victims were covered in semen. Their own and someone else’s. And the someone else doesn’t happen to have sperm in his semen.”

“So no DNA, huh? But if the vic’s own cum was on him, he must have been a willing partner.”

“Not a valid assumption,” I said. “Sexual excitement can be stimulated even when you don’t particularly want to participate. But at this point, there’s no reason to assume the three victims didn’t voluntarily participate.”

“Any connection between the three dead guys?”

“Matt and Hubbard were both students at UNM.”


“The black youngster. But they were in different disciplines, so there’s no apparent connection. I suspect the fact they were both students is coincidental since Greene, the other one, was a street kid.”

“Were they call boys like we believe Matt was?”

I shook my head. “As I say, Dustin Greene lived on the streets—literally. Last known address was a downtown alley. It wouldn’t surprise me if he occasionally covered his meals offering himself to some guy. I’m willing to bet Hubbard wasn’t.”

“Do you think Hubbard was gay?”

“No indication of it.”

“So Matt was the only gay guy in the bunch.”

“And I think he was more of a bi. Or maybe a pansexual.”

“Since they had cum on them, it probably wasn’t robbery,” Paul said.

“Given the semen and the fact they were found naked, this was likely purely sexual. But I think it’s a psychological thing.” I described the circumstances surrounding all three deaths.

“Some looney doesn’t like pretty boys,” Paul suggested.

“Then why become sexually active with them?”

He shrugged. “Maybe he wants it, but when he gets it, he’s disgusted by what he’s done. We’ve both known guys like that.”

“True. But they’re usually disgusted with themselves.”

Paul wagged his head from side to side. “For the most part. But sometimes they take it out on their partners.”


I suspect Paul’s last suggestion rings true for many of us. Let me know what you think of the scene.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

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Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.



 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

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